January 14, 2016
Let’s run through a hypothetical. Pretend that you’re in charge of an extreme tourism brand that likes to take its consumers to a peak of adrenaline rushes through various types of organized trails, climbs, and other outdoor activities.
You start thinking back to one of the trips you planned and went on. Now, you are on top of that mountain in Africa. It’s strange, it’s like you can feel the brisk wind brushing against your skin. You feel the ground vibrate beneath your feet and then when you look down you realize that you’re at the precipice of a hundred foot drop and the vibration you felt earlier was caused by some rocks finding their way down the abyss. Adrenaline spikes in your blood as you try to keep climbing and finally find a solid handhold. Then everything goes dark. You take off your virtual reality headset to see you are indeed still in New York.
Trying to get brand ambassadors to explain these unique feelings (that they may never even have experienced) to others can be a hard feat to accomplish. Although with the right training, Factory 360’s brand ambassadors are able to do so, experiential marketing campaigns are now able to add a lot more experience to a consumers’ daily life.
Virtual reality allows brands to show consumers what they are really all about. Instead of telling a consumer about how his legs might feel like Jell-O because he’s so high off the ground on an all glass bridge, why not let him experience the feeling himself by giving him an Oculus Rift?
An experiential marketing campaign enhanced with virtual reality can make all of the difference. Virtual reality is an up and coming topic, and many consumers are still unfamiliar with it, so just the fact that a brand is introducing their consumers to this exciting new technology will get them talking about how great their new experience was. They will want to tell their social media platforms about the experience they had based not only on the content of the experience but how cool it was that a brand provided them with the opportunity to experience virtual reality for the first time.
If the campaign isn’t exactly mimicking something that the brand offers, but instead is adding a virtual experience that enhances the brand message, consumers will most likely gain a better understanding of what the brand is trying to convey. For example, say a brand has a goal of making a girl feel like a princess by selling them clothes. This brand then plans a campaign that provides these girls with the virtual experience of being Cinderella for a few minutes by talking to Prince Charming, feeling like she’s riding in a carriage, and talking to her animal friends. The message is a lot clear when it’s actually experienced, not just heard, by the consumer.
Another thing that virtual reality adds to certain experiential marketing campaigns is a desire for comparison. If the campaign is centered on a virtual experience mimicking one that the brand is offering to provide, consumers might take the brand up on its offer to see how similar the virtual thrill actually is to the real one.
There are also some other hidden benefits of virtual reality in experiential marketing. No brand wants to be liable for one of their consumers’ accidents. A virtual reality campaign allows brands to provide inherently risky experiences without the risk. A car brand might show their consumers how fast their new car model really is without running the risk of a car crash.
Brands are often able to provide costly experiences on a lot tighter of a budget with virtual reality. Instead of renting out a large space, the brand can choose a small footprint and design a large space within the Oculus Rift. Needless to say, virtual reality also allows brands to provide consumers with experiences that they would not have been able to unless they actually purchased certain packages. Airlines and tourism agencies can give the consumer a taste of another country’s culture without actually having the expense of flying him somewhere.
Turns out that your middle school English teacher’s saying that “showing is better than telling” applies to more than just that Writing Composition course you were forced to take in the 7th grade. When it comes to experiential marketing, providing consumers with these unique and still rare experiences is what will differentiate your brand even further from your competitors. So next time you’re trying to add a little spice to your current marketing campaign, run through a hypothetical: what if the consumer were actually able to feel what we’re offering before making their purchase decision?